The Bugs

Do you ever get that creepy feeling, just as you're falling asleep, that bugs are crawling on your bare skin?

Only, it really is bugs crawling on your bare skin?

Yeah. That would be my life.

Four years ago, we moved from San Diego to an unnamed town in Minnesota. (Yes, we are crazy.) More important than the climate change was the change to every other aspect of my life. Previous to this move, I had spent my entire life in suburbia, and I had grown quite accustomed to that form of existence. Moving to the "country" changed my entire world.

Suddenly, there were no coffee shops open past 5:00 PM.

There was only one grocery store.

There was no place to shop.

And maybe most horrifying to people who'd spent the previous 10 years living in San Diego, there were no Mexican taquerias. (Taco Bell doesn't count.) Nor Italian restaurants. (Pizza Hut doesn't count.) Nor sushi bars. (The bait shop doesn't count.)

I tried to come to grip with the foreign culture we found ourselves immersed in. But I have to confess -- that first year was HARD! Our house needed a ton of work. We had no yard. The lake that we live on turned out to be a cesspool of algae. And -- the bugs. Oh my word, the bugs.

Living in California for 10 years, I had forgotten how bad the bugs can be in the Midwest. And now, I wasn't just living in the Midwest. I was living in The Country, where they don't spray for pesky things like mosquitoes, and on a lake, which practically calls to bugs of all shapes and sizes to come rest upon its mucky shore.

I remember a pleasant June night our first year here. My daughter was in bed, my husband was out of town. I had the windows open so I could enjoy the night air, and the lights on, so I could work on my daughter's scrapbook. And then I happened to glance up at our can lights -- and I saw hundreds, literally HUNDREDS (do you feel my horror?) of bugs flying around our ceiling. I ran around to look for the open door, and finding none, I slowly realized -- these bugs are so tiny, they can just fit in through the screens. There is NO WAY to keep them out of my house.

I quickly shut off all the lights and went to bed, too disgusted to even figure out what to do. I woke up the next morning to find hundreds of tiny bug carcasses covering every surface of the house. On my bed, on the kitchen counters, on the pictures I'd laid out for the scrapbooks. On the floor, on the stove, on the windowsills, on the couch.

I almost moved back to California that day. (Also the day I found out at approximately 15 weeks pregnant that our local hospital -- which is affiliated with Mayo and therefore should know better -- doesn't offer epidurals. But that's another story.)

Since that time, I've actually gotten used to the bugs. I know not to leave my windows open after dark. I know most of the bugs that can fit in through our screens don't bite. I'm accustomed to reading in bed at night only to look up and find about 25 or so tiny bugs flying around the light my bedside lamp casts on the ceiling. I know that I'll find Lady Asian beetles crawling on every window in my house each spring and fall. I'm used to it. (How sick is that?!?)

But my children are not. Just this week, they've started to notice THE BUGS which are swirling on their ceilings as they go to sleep. There has been much SHRIEKING and CRYING and many cries of MOMMY, THERE ARE BUGS IN MY ROOM!

This morning, my son brought me a Kleenex, and said with a sober face, "Mom, there's a jumping spider on the fridge. Will you come and get it?" And of course, by the time we got back to the fridge, the spider was already gone. At which point, my son insisted I stay by his side, with Kleenex in hand, "in case he comes back."

Thankfully, with our bug population, I can just find something else to squish, and I think he'll be satisfied. But boy, am I looking forward to moving back to suburbia this fall. Where bugs are more of an after-thought than a way of life.


  1. Hi Kelly,
    Returning the visit to say thanks for stopping by and posting a comment...and it looks like I'll be coming back! You've got some really good stuff over here. Here's to future blog conversation!
    Blessings to you,

  2. Yucky poo!

    I hate bugs. And I use the word hate because I can't think of a meaner word right now in my morning fog. Cut me a break I'm only on my first cup of coffee.

    I do not envy the lake in that aspect. And you know, why don't I have any bugs here in San Diego. I mean, I pay Lloyd's Pest Control good money to keep them away, but I honestly never noticed the lack of bugs until you mentioned them a few weeks ago.

    I am spoiled..

  3. Oh my. I guess I should be glad that I live up here without the snakes, spiders and bugs that warmer climates get to enjoy.

    I've never seen a cockroach though I've heard that they do have them in some places that are especially nasty.